Let there be badgeware. And more.

It’s official now: the OSI has approved the Common Public Attribution License. Badgeware is now a legitimate citizen of the Open Source ecosystem.

I’m not going to reiterate my rants and restate why this is bad in so many ways. I just have to note how the official introduction of badgeware is going to make life difficult to many of us, as the current wording is far from being clear, it’s redundant and and brings a lot of hassles when it comes to compliance. Just go and read section #14 to get an idea of what I’m talking about: I dare anyone to figure out the hairy mess of borderline situations that will arise.

Unfortunately, when it rains it pours. As if attribution wasn’t enough, the CPAL, with a stroke of evil genius which reminds me of a story of ancient Greeks, a siege and a wooden horse, includes a mostly unnoticed proviso for the dreaded SaaS loophole. Yes, you read it right: the OSI not only gave a green light to attribution, they are even endorsing network use as distribution now, something that even the FSF has been reluctant to do, and something that I can’t help but reading as a violation of Freedom 0 and 1 from the Free Software Definition, not to mention criteria #6 of the OSD. Again, I see no point in going over and over what I’ve been muttering about when it comes to AGPL and friends, but I just have to point how the OSI managed to to stick in our throats the two major issues that were on the table. All this with the usual public discussion and process: none whatsoever, that is.

Sad, sad day for Open Source. By approving the CPAL, the OSI is sanctioning what I like to call defensive Open Source, that is Open Source seen as a necessary evil by companies realizing that the only way to get to the market with software products nowadays is by using the Open Source marketing weapon. Yet, something that needs to be limited so that it doesn’t threaten traditional business models. Get us the free marketing ride and forget about the rest. What we see behind this Open Source is cathedrals instead than bazaars, code dumps instead than communities, booby traps instead than participatory process, upsells instead than leverage and differentiate, Antarctica instead than Rain Forest.

Oh well. The JCP is almost gone. ISO is supposedly for sale. The OSI is apparently bending to powers that be. Am I the only one seeing a problem?

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